Publications & Reports

Maternal complications and perinatal mortality: findings of the World Health Organization Multicountry Survey on Maternal and Newborn Health.

J P Vogel, J P Souza, R Mori, N Morisaki, P Lumbiganon, M Laopaiboon, E Ortiz-Panozo, B Hernandez, R Perez-Cuevas, M Roy, S Mittal, J G Cecatti, O Tuncalp, A M Gulmezoglu


OBJECTIVE: We aimed to determine the prevalence and risks of late fetal deaths (LFDs) and early neonatal deaths (ENDs) in women with medical and obstetric complications. DESIGN: Secondary analysis of the WHO Multicountry Survey on Maternal and Newborn Health (WHOMCS). SETTING: A total of 359 participating facilities in 29 countries. POPULATION: A total of 308 392 singleton deliveries. METHODS: We reported on perinatal indicators and determined risks of perinatal death in the presence of severe maternal complications (haemorrhagic, infectious, and hypertensive disorders, and other medical conditions). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Fresh and macerated LFDs (defined as stillbirths >/= 1000 g and/or >/=28 weeks of gestation) and ENDs. RESULTS: The LFD rate was 17.7 per 1000 births; 64.8% were fresh stillbirths. The END rate was 8.4 per 1000 liveborns; 67.1% occurred by day 3 of life. Maternal complications were present in 22.9, 27.7, and 21.2% [corrected] of macerated LFDs, fresh LFDs, and ENDs, respectively. The risks of all three perinatal mortality outcomes were significantly increased with placental abruption, ruptured uterus, systemic infections/sepsis, pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, and severe anaemia. CONCLUSIONS: Preventing intrapartum-related perinatal deaths requires a comprehensive approach to quality intrapartum care, beyond the provision of caesarean section. Early identification and management of women with complications could improve maternal and perinatal outcomes.

Link to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: BJOG
  • Published: 01/03/2014
  • Volume: 121 Suppl 1
  • Pagination: 76-88